(2023) CVNE and their Cune brand are very well known for their high quality red Rioja wines. The rosado is 100% Tempranillo, made in an approximate Provençal style, perhaps with a touch more body and ripeness, but a pale colour and fresh character. Strawberry and cherry-lips confectionery notes lead the way, the palate fruity and peachy, but all the time the balance is good, perhaps the merest hint of sweetness balanced by acidity in the easy-drinking, but gastronomic finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) A label of the Hill-Smith Family, who are also behind Yalumba and Pewsey Vale among other brands, I enjoyed the previous vintage of this in its forthright style. This follows on very successfully. Rioja's great grape interpreted without oak influence and fermented with wild yeasts indigenous to the vineyards, it has a touch of coal dust and Indian ink on the nose, over cranberry, cinnamon and black cherry. In the mouth there's good balance between the fruit, grippy tannins and acidity for a fine barbecue staple at £8 in Tesco, £9 in the Co-op at time of review. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) Made from Viura and fermented and left on its lees for four months in American oak casks. That treatment 'tames' the sometimes very aromatic Viura, adding instead a sheen of light almond over slightly waxy lemon rind and peach. The oak is less dominant than I remember from previous tastings of this, and that adds to the freshness of the palate which is more about nicely sour lemon and sweeter apple and peach.
(2022) Chardonnay with a touch of Semillon, there's precious little information about the winemaking for these inexpensive wines, but there's a smidge of custard or oatmeal on the nose that suggests some exposure to oak, though generally the aromas are fruitier. In the mouth this is rather dilute, rather short too, with a watery finish and acid impacting more than the promised tropical fruit.
(2022) The blend explains the name: even for the Murray River region (home to Andrew Peace wine) where everything is grown, blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo with Italian relative obscurity, Sagrantino, is indeed out of the ordinary. There's quite a mature feel to this 2020 already, mellow and autumnal berries and a touch of drying leaves on the nose, then a sweet, smooth, quite silky palate of ripe fruit. Not particularly long and the acid is a touch harsh, but interesting and decent value.
(2022) Shiraz from the Murray River in Victoria ("with a touch of Tempranillo"), this is the colour of cranberry juice, and aromas are a mix of red and black berries. In the mouth its a gluggable mouthful for the barbecue or to wash down a pizza, enough easy-going fruit to make up for the hint of harshness from, I would guess, adjusted acidity and a little oak chip exposure, but you know what? £5.75 is nothing to pay for a bottle of wine given the UK's duty and taxes, and this is as quaffable as it should be at that price. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) From an historic and important estate just outside Stellenbosch, and winemaker André van Rensburg, one of the Cape's best, this is the first time I have tasted a certified Fairtrade wine from them, audited to ensure farm workers are treated fairly. It's a Bordeaux-like blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec, spending 18 months in barrels, 20% of them new French oak barrels. That's an expensive recipe for a £9 wine, and I am pleased to say it delivers with smoky, spicy, tobacco-infused black fruit on the nose. The plate has an espresso touch of dark, bittersweetness, good black fruits and again spices into a finish that is perked up by cherry-skin acidity and some tannin structure too. Good value this. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Barrossa-grown Tempranillo is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in oak for this red wine from the Hill-Smith family, who own Yalumba and Jansz among other brands. Though it weighs in with 14% alcohol, the colour is medium to pale, suggesting a lighter touch on the winemaking, and the nose has cherry cola aromas, a touch of wild strawberry and spice. In the mouth the fruit is super sweet, a creamy fruit coulis style, with barely perceptible tannins and ripe, generous acidity barely ruffling the flow. Easy-drinking with a captial Easy.
(2021) From grapes grown at 600-metres altitude, Ramón Bilbao says this new wine represents a conscious step towards increasing their organic output. A blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, it is dry, spicy and savoury, with a little tobacco, herbs and dark fruits. On the palate it is a farily light and brisk style of Rioja, a little vanilla, green olive and cedar filling out the finish, with gentle but firm tannins and acidity into an easy-drinking finish. Watch the video for more information.